After a season of intense striving, I am exhausted. I am physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally drained. And not for the reasons you may assume. As a self-labeled “go-getter” or “girlboss,” I have given into the lie that I have to do whatever it takes to make my dreams come true. Publish articles? Check. Curate an instagram. Sure. Raise a kid? I can do that too. I have become so entrenched in making myself the Bailey that the world wants to see that I have compromised the original goal of serving women through the gift of story and God’s truth. I am exhausted from making much of myself. I am exhausted from trying to beat the “game” of success. I am exhausted from trying to measure my worth in tangible deliverables .
The recent realization of my futile striving flew back in my face as I confronted my husband. Why was he not matching my productivity by coming home from work and immediately doing all the chores? I’m pulling myself out of bed at 6am for my baby boy, and forcing myself to be the #1 mommy that sings songs, plays games, and constantly entertains. I hit the pillow hard at 8pm because I have nothing left in me for myself or for my husband. The issue isn’t my husband’s ability to rest, it’s my self-absorbed ambition–well intended though it may be, the monstrous path to achieve my goal has eaten away the goodness that motivates me.
As I read Jennie Allen’s new book, Nothing to Prove, her words stopped me dead in my tracks because she called my sin out. My belief that I have to prove myself worthy of the world’s attention reveals my underlying attitude that I don’t think God can work out my success on my terms, on my timeline, and for my glory.
But, I’m done striving. Because if we’re honest, individual striving is kind of like treading water–you need some momentum to move and without the Holy Spirit’s direction I don’t think I’m going anywhere. I want to trust that God is enough and “because God is enough and has enough, I can rest.”
To most woman rest can be an incredibly complicated idea. I’m not talking about a massage and some alone time at the park. I think the rest we need as striving women is peace knowing that God is enough and has an abundance of good for us. We need the mindset that doing more doesn’t equal being more. Allen writes, “There is no remedy for your striving apart from finding your identity in Christ. He is your enough, and the degree to which you believe that is the degree to which you will stop striving, stop performing, stop trying to prove yourself.”
I am desperate for the rest that God provides in knowing that I am weak and He is strong and that’s ok. It’s better for me actually because my value is defined by God and that’s a lot more prestigious than a long LinkedIn profile.
Today, an overwhelming peace has passed over me. My chest feels a little less tight, my head feels a little more free and I am beginning to see a joy return that has been lost in my efforts. In Isaiah, God speaks to the rest I crave: “In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength…” I want to quiet my busy hands and thoughts to trust in what God is doing. As I continue to work, serve my family, and love my community, I want it to come from a restful peace, knowing that God has saved me. That God loves me. That God doesn’t need anything more from me. God sets me free to enjoy my life, to enjoy my people, and to enjoy Him.